Following Sherlock around London
If you could think of the most British things that exist, I’m pretty sure (alongside tea with milk and gin with tonic) the character of Sherlock Holmes would make it to the top ten. The classic Victorian stories about a brilliant but eccentric detective had inspired numbers of spin-offs and remakes, some better and worse. The most recent one, however, introduced Holmes no one knew before. The plot of the BBC’s TV series simply called “Sherlock” is set in present-day London, which gives the detective access to all the technologies available in the modern world. This new approach to the stories turned out to be a worldwide phenomenon, making the adventures of Sherlock Holmes even more fascinating than they already were. I admit with no shame that I was and still am amongst these people who went absolutely crazy for the show (and Benedict Cumberbatch), so after I moved to London I knew that one day I need to go and visit the places connected to Sherlock. And so finally I did.
- The real Baker Street
Baker Street is really lovely, situated in Marylebone (I still haven’t figured out how to pronounce it by the way), very close to Regent’s Park. From the very moment you exit the tube station you can see Sherlock-related things pretty much everywhere. 221b Baker Street is a Sherlock Holmes museum, there is also a souvenir shop next door and Hudson’s (shout out to the best landlady) restaurant. Opposite there is a Holmes Grill restaurant and people all around are taking pictures smoking pipes and wearing deerstalkers. “Sherlock” producers couldn’t film the show on the real Baker Street for obvious reasons — as much as the TV Sherlock shows signs of vanity, it’s rather unlikely that he would open a museum and dedicate it to his achievements.
2. 187 North Gower Street a.k.a 221b Baker Street
The Baker Street we know from the TV show is actually North Gower Street, just a minute from the Euston Square station. Every fan will straight away recognize the distinctive red awning that says “Speedy’s” as the café just next door to where the TV Sherlock lives. In real life the area seems a bit grim, though I never got that feeling when I was watching the show. North Gower Street looks empty and a bit dirty.
Where you would expect to find the number 221b it says 187, but it doesn’t stop people from taking pictures by the Speedy’s café. Time for a fun fact now. On the real Baker Street at the number 221b there is one of these blue plaques, which can be found on numerous buildings in London. They are there to commemorate a person or an event that happened in that very place. The one on Baker Street commemorates Holmes himself, but we can also find one on North Gower Street.
Apparently, only important people can live at 221b Baker Street. The plaque, however, is removed/covered in the series.
3. St Bartholomew’s Hospital a.k.a St Barts
The oldest hospital in England was the location of many crucial events in “Sherlock”. The most important one arguably was Holmes’ faked suicide. One of the hospital’s laboratories was also the place where Sherlock and Watson met for the first time.
It took me a while to find that sign and also the exact spot where Benedict Cumberbatch performed his reckless stunt.
Is it only me or does everything looks smaller in real life than on the TV?
Planning my “trip” around the city, I was disappointed to discover that many locations where “Sherlock” was filmed are not in London. However, there are still some places I need to discover and I absolutely recommend every fellow Sherlock fan to do the same. Consider it your obligatory pilgrimage to Mecca.